Innovation

Tesla Cybertruck: Elon Musk reveals updated version may be unveiled soon

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is gearing up to unveil a revision of the Cybertruck. Here's what to expect.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

A revised version of the Tesla Cybertruck may be unveiled "in a month or so," Elon Musk revealed Sunday.

The all-electric truck, first revealed in November 2019, is set to hit roads in late 2021. Musk, the Tesla CEO who presented the truck at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles 12 months ago, suggested via his Twitter page Sunday that the company would soon show images of how the truck has changed over the past year. In response to a question about whether the Cybertruck will be an "ass-kicker," Musk replied that it's "basically a tank from the future that’s road-legal, so yeah."

The reveal could answer some of the biggest questions about the Cybertruck's evolving design. Musk has regularly teased that the final version of the Cybertruck will be better than the prototype. During last month's third-quarter 2020 earnings call, Musk said there are "a lot of small improvements compared to what was unveiled," and that the final truck will be "better than what we showed."

"With Tesla, we really aim to make the car that is delivered better than the car that is unveiled," Musk said in the call. "It always drove me crazy. Car companies would unveil these awesome looking cars. Like great, can't wait til they make that! And then the car they actually make is much worse. It's, like, really disappointing."

How will it change is the big question. In February, Musk outlined a couple of planned changes. This included a revised body width from 84 inches down to 82 inches and "upper laser blade lights" as standard. The specifications provided at the truck's unveiling claimed it measured 79.8 inches wide, 75 inches tall and 231.7 inches long.

In a May appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, Musk claimed the final design would be around five percent smaller. However, soon after this clip went live, Musk explained that he'd reviewed the car with head of design Franz von Holzhausen and even reducing the size three percent would not be possible. He also wrote that the car would be "pretty much this size."

Tesla Cybertruck.Getty Images

Another planned change, as mentioned in May, is a "smaller, tight world truck at some point." This alternative version would be intended for markets like Europe with smaller roads. Musk has confirmed he's not against shipping the full-size version to Australia and New Zealand.

Tesla is also expected to tweak the alloy used in the Cybertruck. Musk explained in July that SpaceX is "rapidly changing alloy constituents & forming methods" as it develops its Mars-bound Starship, and the Cybertruck is also expected to receive changes. The truck's angular design comes form the fact that it uses ultra-hard 30X steel that makes shaping difficult.

The Tesla Cybertruck is expected to start shipping in limited quantities by the end of 2021. The truck starts at $39,900 for a single-motor rear-wheel-drive version with 250 miles of range, going up to a $69,900 version with tri-motor all-wheel-drive and over 500 miles of range.

Central to Tesla's production plans is Giga Texas. This new facility, under construction in Austin, will produce Cybertruck, the upcoming Semi truck, and Model 3 and Model Y cars for the eastern half of North America.

The Inverse analysis – It will be interesting to see how the Cybertruck changes before production. Fans witnessed a similar tweaking process before the Model 3 hit roads in July 2017, like sensor changes and tweaks to charging port colors.

Another change could be the addition of physical side mirrors. Current prototypes appear to use a camera-based system instead. While United States law currently requires cars to come with physical mirrors, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has explored changing the rule. Whether that change comes before the Cybertruck launches is another question.

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